Run Free, Maggie
If you spent any time around Maggie, eventually you'd either hear that phrase or say it yourself, and then get to watch that beautiful blind girl who was all legs immediately slide to a stop and make sure she didn't run into the fence ... or whatever item she was about to collide with. A smart girl, she knew many, many words including "human", "up", "down", "door", "careful" ... and of course "Fence!!!"
Maggie was born on July 25, 1999, and went blind shortly afterwards. Born red to breeders looking for palomino, and blind, she wasn't registered, but was a beautiful typey Saddlebred who in another life could have been very successful in the show ring. Instead, she remained in her birth home with minimal handling for sixteen years, until her owners needed to downsize. Thanks to a very generous and compassionate person, we were allowed to give Maggie a home for the rest of her life, along with several other Saddlebreds that were at risk of going to auction.
When Maggie arrived she was curious ... but extremely anxious. Understandable, of course, being blind with minimal handling and losing your entire world and meeting new people. But she was smart and very quickly learned her new name, learned her new environment, and picked up on words and their meanings. She remained wary of attention and humans ... until she met kids.
Maggie LOVED kids and would come hang her giant head over the fence and reach down and make sure they could love on her. She learned to allow scratches and grooming ... but was very picky about the people she liked. She was drawn to children and often people who had less experience; it's like she could sense they only wanted to love her and would let them do things that would astound others, like quietly put her winter blanket on at liberty in pasture. She got along with nearly every horse she ever met ... once she knew they were safe ... but was wicked accurate with her hind feet if they dared to come between her and her food.
Maggie's anxiety did bring about weight issues, and it took a lot of time and effort to find a system that worked for her. Eventually we started her on what would become known as Maggie's "medical marijuana" ... simple gastrointestinal supplements ... because when her stomach was settled she was a mellow, mellow girl.
She successfully moved with us to two more locations, finally landing at our permanent location here in Scotland three years ago. She really bloomed those three years, with a stable location, a group of blind friends that she got along with, and the right combination of food, and looked absolutely amazing.
A little over two weeks ago she was brought up with some lameness, and in what feels like a nightmare we find ourselves without her in what feels like a lifetime but also a flash. In a separate post I'll share more about what the situation was, because it's nearly impossible to wrap our heads (and hearts) around how bringing in a slightly lame horse led to all the trauma and struggle of the past week and ultimately having to say goodbye. There's a huge hole in our blind pen today, and it's one we'll feel for quite some time.
Strong willed, opinionated, smart, but at the core kind and sweet, Maggie was a huge part of our herd, and will be greatly missed by all ... well, at least the ones that she liked. :)
All who knew her, whether she liked you or not, please feel free to share your memories and stories of our beautiful Maggie May, our Mags, our Margaret or Magdelena below. Let's fill that hole up with lots of happy memories to celebrate how loved she was for the last seven years.
As we said our goodbyes, I told Maggie all about the beautiful pastures she was heading too, full of grass she would be seeing for the first time (and told her that color is "green") and all her friends - Star, Sam, Jackie, Tommy, and friends she knew before us ... who would be waiting for her. And that she could run and run, and no one would ever yell "Fence, Maggie" to make her stop.
But every now and then, I might just go out and - if the wind is just right - let out a "Fence, Maggie" ... just to mess with her in the sky herd. I'm sure she'd appreciate that.
Until we meet again, Maggie May, run free and happy.
GSH Maggie May